Flash (vol.3) #6 (Early January, 2011)
“Case One: The Dastardly Death of the Rogues, Part Six”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Artist – Francis Manapul
Colorist – Brian Buccellato
Letterer – Sal Cipriano
Editors – Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.99
Hey, waitasec… Flash (vol.3) #5 came out with an October, 2010 cover date… wonder why there was a three-month wait for this issue. Could it be that, in the meantime… hmm, plans changed?!
That’s right folks… I think this might be the actual issue where Flashpoint became something more than “just” a Flash Event… and would ultimately wind up being the finger on the flusher. We’ll get into the reasons why I feel this way as we proceed through the discussion.
Worth noting that this piece is our 100th discussion of a Geoff Johns-written issue here at the humble blog. The things you miss when you’re not paying attention, right? More on that later too.
Finally, last piece of housekeeping before we move on… I don’t think I’ve drawn much attention to it here, but if you look to the right, there is a button for “Collected Editions”. That’s where I’m collecting all of our (applicable) discussions into chronological order for easier reading. The Dastardly Death of the Rogues will be added there in its entirety today.
It’s still Brightest Day… even though you probably wouldn’t know that if you read this issue. I guess if DC doesn’t care to mention it… why should I?
We open in the future… Barry Allen is stood before a Cobra Commander-looking judge in the Court of Temporal Justice. He is, of course, on trial for the future-murder of the Mirror Monarch. Barry ain’t too keen on any of this and tries to convince them that their history books are mistaken… and also that he knows who the real killer is.
Speaking of which, we then jump back to the present where the Top is terrorizing (read: killing) Iris. Ya see, if she continued to dig through that Hicks case, she would discover the real killer… and that’s something he just can’t allow to happen.
Back to the future, Barry wriggles out of his bindings at super-speed. He then hops on one of the Renegades’ “time platforms” and rushes back to the present… managing to be in the nick time to make the big save. Or, maybe he wasn’t really “in the nick” of it… I mean, this is time travel… he could, in theory jump back to whenever he wanted, right? Kinda takes the urgency out of the situation if you think about it that way, don’t it?
Anyhoo… the Top flees, and Barry gives chase. While airborne, we finally get to the bottom of the whole mishegoss. Ya see, that Hicks kid was sent to jail mistakenly… duh. The real killer was an ancestor of the 25th century Top… and in the future, the sins of the ancestors’… yadda yadda yadda. There’s no way he’d be able to serve on the police force with that kind of family history.
They continue to fight, and get into a really cool power-based struggle. The Top spins… and Barry manages to phase through the vortex… and the Top himself, then reverses the spin at the speed of light!
With the Top knelt before him, the rest of the Renegades appear on the scene. They claim to have heard the entire confession… and are there to arrest the Top this time around. Commander Cold refuses to apologize to Barry for the inconvenience… in fact, Cold is still kinda ticked at Barry… because, even with the ability to change the past… he refuses to! Hmm… don’t like where this is headed. You think this might be headed somewhere?
We jump ahead to the police station where Mama Hicks is waiting for her son to be released from prison. She is joined by Barry who delivers the good news that they’d caught the real killer.
In the office, there’s a contentious chat between Barry and Singh… which sorta ends with a sorry-not-sorry from the Director. The last six months worth of cases are being pulled and combed over to make sure every conviction is legit. Feel bad for those wrongly imprisoned seven months ago!
Next stop, the coffee shop… where Barry and Iris are having a drink and muffin. Barry’s mind seems… elsewhere. He’s still kinda stuck on what Commander Cold said about changing the past. Iris uses Barry’s own words about the past “being the past”, which unfortunately (for DC Comics fans) doesn’t manage to change the subject.
|Get all those words into the balloons!
Good thing this book has TWO editors!
We make a brief stop with the Rogues. Mirror Master discusses some of the things he’d seen and heard when Scudder’s mirror shattered. We also learn here that Digger did not return with them. He’s probably off doing Brightest Day things… because, in case you had forgotten (like I have), this is a Brightest Day branded issue.
Then… we jump back to the Court of Temporal Justice where the Cobra Commander-looking fella is examining all of the wacky paradoxes in the 21st century… Batman working his way through time, Lex Luthor meeting Death, the Brightest Day dealie, Wonder Woman changing from briefs to boxers… it’s a wild time, folks. And unfortunately… it’s about to get a whole lot wilder.
We wrap up with a helmeted Barry Allen riding a speed-forcey motorcycle on his way to find… and end the (uh-oh) Flashpoint.
Do you get the feeling something changed here? One of my bigger pet peeves is when anyone starts a sentence with “Is it just me…” but, is it just me?! Am I looking too hard for something that just might not be there?
I mean, tonally… this just reads a bit different, no? For the past two issues we’ve had this build-up that Iris was going to “get it”… but here she’s rescued before we even see the title of the issue! That’s not really that big a deal… I mean, we still needed to straighten out the issue with the Top… maybe this bit wasn’t truncated.
I feel like the battle with the Top (and the confession) was a bit anticlimactic… but, again… I really might just be looking for something. Ya see, full-disclosure… I’ve got a really bad association with most things “New-52!”. So, anytime I notice anything that might suggest that’s where we’re heading… I’m probably going to be a little more critical overall.
The chat with Commander Cold in regards to changing the past… I’m cool with that. I mean, Flashpoint (in whatever it’s original form was to be) was still very much on the horizon. We’ve already seen glimpses of Barry’s mom… in the original “preview” we saw hints of the Wonder Woman/Aquaman war… so, there this whole “change the past” deal was definitely already established.
It’s what came after that I’m not convinced (and probably never will be) was originally “part of the plan”. Which is why I feel like that “other shoe dropped” right after the scene at the Central City Police Department. I feel like this is where the direction sharply changed.
We get a cameo from the 25th Century where they’re noticing all of the paradoxes in the 21st Century (man, good thing they didn’t dial that sucker back to the Silver Age). These paradoxes aren’t limited to the Flash family… instead, they’re taking a broader look at the DC Universe. And really… the only “time anomaly” I see is Batman working his way through time, and even then… ehhh.
I feel like these “paradoxes” are kinda flimsy… but, they needed something to serve the story moving forward… and justify flushing that cosmic toilet. But still… with Flashpoint on the horizon, who’s to say that this was “added” after the fact? This much could have been all “part of the plan”, right? Maybe? I mean, I’m just freestyling here… I could very well be talking out my backside. I wasn’t in any of these meetings.
Then… there’s the delay. Three months passed between this issue and the one before. This isn’t an over-sized issue. Hell, this doesn’t appear to be an issue that an editor even looked at once. There were around a half dozen misspelled words… and that one bit where the words weren’t in the bubble (which I included during the synopsis). It feels like, even though this book was ridiculously late… that it was still somehow rushed!
This feels like an afterthought… a “just get it on the shelf” situation so they can move along with the story they “need” to tell. The issue that follows this is still a Brightest Day tie-in… but it’s this condensed story of Captain Boomerang… and it reads like the fulfillment of the “Brightest Day Contract”, and not much more. We’ll eventually get to that one though.
So there you have it… I just spent a good dozen or so poorly-written paragraphs saying nothing at all! For the issue itself… it’s still gorgeous… and we get some resolution. Sometimes you can’t ask for much more than that. I’m pretty sure that I was totally psyched the first time I read this… but, that was several months before the Memorial Day, 2011 announcement.
This issue has a great cover too… or, it would if it didn’t have the “2010 Spike TV Scream Awards” thing on it. I get being proud of your creators… but, is anybody buying this (a Part 6 of 6) because it’s written by a Spike TV Scream Award winner? Oh well.
Speaking of that Scream Award winner… let’s talk a bit about Geoff Johns. As mentioned above, today’s post is the 100th Johns book we’re discussing here at the humble blog… and lemme tell ya, I didn’t see that coming! As data-hungry a dude as I am, I somehow didn’t notice that we’d covered so many books by the man… I wonder what other milestones I’ve completely missed!
Now, I’ve really never been one to tout any writer as “my favorite”. I feel like I change my mind far too often to put something like that in (digital) print. I guess sometimes it takes something sneaking up on you to fully realize how you really feel. Going by the numbers… it would look like Geoff Johns is my favorite writer in comics. Looking at the reviews… well, that might also tell you that he’s my favorite.
I still won’t commit to saying that… but, I mean the evidence kinda speaks for itself. You ain’t reading this, but thanks for the all the good reads, Geoff!
That’s all we’ve got for today… the entirety of The Dastardly Death of the Rogues will be available on the Collected Editions page for more convenient perusal. If anyone out there is (still) reading, lemme know if you feel like this is when that other shoe dropped… and DC decided to shift gears. I know the evidence I supplied is flimsy at best… but, I can’t shake the feeling.